Sime~Gen Inc. Presents
"Is Individuality Honorable?"
Star Trek: Voyager "Dark Frontier" a 2 hour TV movie aired week of February 14, 1999
Star Trek: Voyager's special episode "Dark Frontier" had given us a lot to think about on many levels. The first, and to me most obvious, is that several new for 1999 episodes have directly addressed the "vehicle" for this show, starting to show the crew and the Captain undertaking purposive actions designed to get them home.
For years, Voyager has been wandering from menace to threat to nemesis. Now suddenly, they've buckled down to their task of getting home -- the "vehicle" is no longer being ignored. My interest and excitement is growing.
I also find this new Janeway characterization much more interesting. Finally, the things that are happening to Voyager are actually happening to Janeway. The underlying fictional structure is coming together, not just in one episode here or there, but in a sequence of episodes that are starting to make sense.
By some odd coincidence, this extravaganza called "Dark Frontier" (and for a TV show, they did spend a lot of money on this one), addresses the issue we took up in the February 1999 issue of this column. "Dark Frontier" presents Seven of Nine with a choice of "Honorable" actions that requires her to answer the question, "Is Individuality Honorable?" and if so, does she choose to behave honorably?
Faced with a choice dictated by the Borg -- return to the Borg or Voyager will be assimilated -- Seven of Nine chooses to sacrifice herself, her individuality, in order to save Voyager.
Then she discovers that the Borg want to keep her as an individual in order to learn how to conquer Earth and assimilate humans.
Ultimately, they want her to program the nanoprobes they intend to sow into Earth's atmosphere to gradually assimilate humanity. She chooses to resist, even knowing resistance is futile. And when presented with the choice of sacrificing Voyager itself in order to save Earth, she chooses to sacrifice Voyager -- knowing that most of those aboard Voyager would agree to sacrifice their lives to save a planet, any planet, but especially Earth and the Federation.
Interlaced with this plot is the "backstory" of Seven of Nine's childhood, her parents study of the Borg and revelations discovered in their notes. (Writing students see http://www.simegen.com/school/workshop/ for more on "flashback" technique, theme and plot-conflict integration relevant to this episode and to Shadow of the Beast by Margaret L. Carter) This flashback sequence is easily the equal of anything we saw on Forever Knight or Highlander for elegance, simplicity, and thematic unity -- every flashback carries the plot forward.
Everything in the flashbacks does two things -- provide Voyager with the technology to infiltrate the Borg ship and rescue Seven of Nine, and stir up Seven's childhood memories of being an individual. It is a contrast/compare study of Seven's life as an individual, and Seven's life as a Borg, and now Seven's life as a Voyager Crewmember.
The flashback sequence shows her love for her father, and then the Borg produce her father as a drone and declare that her family is there on the Borg cube, not on Voyager, a rudimentary attempt to win her loyalty without understanding the connection between loyalty and honor.
The flashback sequence also sets up Seven's internal conflict with elegance. The Borg claim that she had been planted on Voyager, on purpose. If you've been following Voyager closely, you will note some continuity problems here, which I'm ignoring because they've finally hit on the story-arc they should have been using from the first point where Seven appeared. In fact, from the first point where Voyager got lost in space.
By telling her she had been planted on Voyager to betray humanity to the Borg, the Borg made an enormous error in judgement which had to do with Janeway's influence on Seven.
Janeway has revived and restored Seven's individuality. Janeway has trusted Seven. Janeway has never betrayed Seven. Janeway has unleashed Seven's creativity. Janeway has disciplined Seven. Janeway has given Seven a taste of "happiness" and for "happiness." Janeway has ignited the creative forces of Life in Seven's soul. Janeway has infused Seven with an understanding of the nature of Honor and the role of Honor in wielding Power.
Some of these Janeway triumphs happened in scenes embedded in episodes that were otherwise failures in a fictional sense. Extract them, put them all together, and you see that Janeway has brought Seven to the brink of an Initiatory Experience.
This two-hour episode is Seven's Initiation into the Honor of Individuality.
Honor, Responsibility, Career and Duty are Saturn Keywords. Sacrifice is usually attributed to Neptune, but Saturn rules a certain type of Sacrifice, too.
Usually, in our culture, Saturn's "sacrifices" are exacted from one against one's will. I believe that is because of an underlying set of assumptions we cherish, not because of the objective nature of Saturn. Our culture tends to fight Saturn, to resist, however futile. Much of what we regard as "Honor" is just the appearance of Honor, not Honor itself.
Seven of Nine sacrificed the appearance of Honor for Honor itself, and then "adapted" (Saturn does not adapt -- the Mutable signs and rulers "adapt") when she found out she was being used as a weapon against Janeway, Earth and all that she'd come to cherish.
"Use" is a Saturn keyword -- "I Use" is the keyword phrase for Capricorn, which Saturn rules. Seven found out she was being Used -- dishonorably. So then she "chose."
Choose is also related to Saturn's processes. Saturn cuts. Saturn divides. Saturn separates. This is related to the Virgo/Mercury function of "analysis" but it's not the same. (note Virgo and Capricorn are both Earth signs, and thus in trine -- harmonious to each other. The 3rd Earth Sign is Taurus, ruled by Venus, Love, and particularly love of Beauty and the Materialization of that love of beauty into "real life.")
This Voyager episode was a Saturn Initiation for Seven of Nine. It "happened to her" -- everything in it was aimed at her "weakest spot" -- Saturn "strengthens". She chose Honor, the Honor of being an Individual and Saturn (planning) worked in her favor. Janeway was able to plan and execute Seven's rescue because Seven resisted being "used" as a tool against what she had come to cherish, what she had sacrificed her Honor and her Individuality to save.
A great deal of what we refer to as "self," as Individuality, is tied up in Saturn's "separative" functions. Saturn provides the walls around the psyche that allows Individuality to exist within us all. (The Individuality is the Natural First House (Aries); Saturn is the 10th House (Capricorn). These are both "Cardinal" and thus in Square to each other.) The First and Seventh Houses are opposites, and Square the Tenth. Thus humans must innately separate themselves as individuals, but also see their Individuality in Other and combine in alliance. Creativity lies within (5th-11th House axis) that cardinal structure.
It is that dynamic balance, the locked squares, (1st; 7th, 10th;4th) that give us our strength, our creativity, our will, our energy, our survival edge.
We'll continue this next month with werewolves, vampires and the Cardinal Grand Cross.
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Reviewed by Jacqueline Lichtenberg